When is an accident only a mishap?

Let’s begin by considering the dictionary definition of the word accident.

Dictionary definition of accident

  1. an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury. “he had an accident at the factory
  2. an event that happens by chance or that is without apparent or deliberate cause. “the pregnancy was an accident

What is a mishap?

But, is an accident really an event that occurs without intention or deliberate cause? It might be suggested that excepting natural phenomena such as earthquakes, lightning strikes and meteor strikes all so-called accidents are the result of human error, misjudgement or a lack of care.

Everybody should accept responsibility for their actions so a simple “Oh, I’m sorry it was just an accident!” does not in any way negate the perpetrator from that responsibility. That simple incident could have serious ramifications and could adversely affect the victim financially or health-wise and should not be taken lightly.

Road Traffic Incident

A Near Accident
A Near Accident

For many years a car crash was referred to as a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) thankfully, this appears to have been revised and such occurrences are now deemed to be a Road Traffic Incident (RTI).

When cars are in a collision; was that just an unexpected event? No, one or more of the drivers was behaving recklessly and without due care and attention, OR one or more of the vehicles was not adequately maintained to a safe standard OR a manufacturer had failed to ensure the quality of all of the automotive components. All would display a lack of care. All could have been foreseen, all could have been prevented. It was not a random, unlucky incident, it was a deliberate oversight by somebody, somewhere in the events that led up to the “accident”.

A Serious Incident

Was it an accident when your house burned down? As a rule, fires do not start spontaneously, they require an ignition source. Perhaps it was faulty wiring that should have been replaced years ago. Maybe that central-heating boiler should have been serviced, or possibly that gas-stove should have been turned off. All predictable, all avoidable; so was it really an accident?

Is somebody always at fault for a mishap? Someone is always responsible for an occurrence insofar as an accident will always have a cause, and that cause will inevitably be a person. Whether it is right to ascribe blame will undoubtedly be a moot point given that everybody will have their own opinion about the merits of learning from mistakes.

Calamities are avoidable and should in all cases have measures put in place to minimize the likelihood of such incidents occurring.

This article is not intended to give guidance on calamity avoidance, instead seeks to further the awareness of, and the reasoning behind incident prevention.

When is an accident only a mishap? | Who is to Blame?

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